In July 2018, Jamaica will occupy the spotlight at the United Nations High Level Political Forum and deliver a Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the actions and measures for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the national framework of actions.
Accepting the challenge to provide a VNR for the scrutiny of the global community gives Jamaica an opportunity, not only to provide crisp documentation for internal review, but an opportunity to mobilise international cooperation towards accelerating programme implementation for Agenda 2030, which is the global plan of action for the SDGs.
The Planning Institute of Jamaica along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) and the Statistical institute of Jamaica (STATIN) are the core agencies which are preparing Jamaica for the VNR.
The 2017 PIOJ Dialogue for Development Lecture Series that was held between October and December in Montego Bay, Portland and Kingston, was a useful platform for the ongoing engagement of civil society towards taking ownership of the SDGs. The series in Montego Bay and Portland allowed sectoral viewpoints in tourism, health, agriculture, the environment, education, and national security to present to and hear from youth and civic leaders.
The lecture in Kingston on December 5 was delivered by international spokesperson on Sustainable Development, Ambassador Dessima Williams, and she highlighted ways in which Jamaica could continue to lead the region on the infusion of the SDGs in the national policy framework.
Ambassador Williams noted of Jamaica’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, “Within the society one can see that there is a preparedness and receptivity for change that can restore the environment that can raise the level of preparedness to engage in this transformation process for the next 13 years. Continue to integrate SDGs in national themes as people will be able to graft on to it and this makes it easier to gain public support.”
In his remarks, Prime Minister Andrew Holness underscored that government’s priorities must leave no one behind and transform Jamaica into a future with prosperity for all. He said that the country will commence the Medium Term Framework (MTF) for 2018 to 2021 in January which will be the road map for SDG implementation.
The Prime Minister highlighted other areas of focus for the government when it goes into the planning cycle for MTF 2018-2021 as: Reducing gender inequality as it relates to the performance of boys in the early stages of the education system (SDG 5); Increasing the ratio of renewable energy from 18% to 30% (SDG 7); decent work to accompany economic growth (SDG 8); and expanding infrastructure work, improving life in cities and proactive action to build climate change resilience systems (SDG 11).
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Marcia Gilbert-Roberts said that the ministry will seek cooperation for appropriate technology transfer, and data collection and analysis.
In her address on the role of STATIN in the monitoring of the SDGs, Executive Director Carol Coy said that a goal of the agency is to ensure that data coming out of Jamaica is standardised and in line with global standards. The agency is also committed to coming out of its comfort zone and utilise big data from tax and customs authorities and also telecoms agencies.